Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge of Receiving Child Pornography
Jacksonville, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Peter Joshua Johns (20, Norfolk, Virginia) pled guilty yesterday to a federal charge of receiving child pornography over the internet. Johns faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, and a potential life term of supervised release. The plea agreement also requires Johns to forfeit his computer. He has been in custody since his arrest on October 3, 2011, in Norfolk, Virginia.
According to court documents, while conducting an undercover operation, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent identified an internet protocol (“IP”) address that was using the internet to share files depicting child pornography. Subpoenaed documents later revealed that the internet service account for this IP address belonged to a residence in Jacksonville.
On April 18, 2011, law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at the Jacksonville residence. During the execution of the warrant, the agents learned that Johns had previously lived at the residence, in a camper trailer, but had recently moved. During the search of the trailer, agents found a laptop computer that belonged to Johns.
Later that day, agents located and interviewed Johns. During the interview, he stated that he had lived in the camper trailer at the residence in July 2010, and then again from Thanksgiving 2010 through April 2011. Johns admitted, among other things, to using certain terms and specific ages to search for child pornography using an internet file sharing program. He stated that sometimes after watching the videos, he would realize that what he was doing was wrong and deleted the files. Subsequent forensic analysis of his laptop computer recovered at least 13 videos and five images depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
This case was investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Jacksonville and Norfolk, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc for more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."